Sir Mo Farah has revealed that he was illegally trafficked to the UK when he was nine years old and forced into domestic servitude.
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The Olympic champion previously claimed he had left Somalia aged eight to join his father, after his parents made the difficult decision to send three of their six children to London for a better life.
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But in a new documentary, The Real Mo Farah, which will be aired on the BBC on Wednesday, the 39-year-old says that in fact he was trafficked to London by a stranger under an assumed name after escaping war in Somalia.
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"Despite what I've said in the past, my parents never lived in the U.K. When I was 4, my dad was killed in a civil war," Mo says. "As a family, we were torn apart. I was separated from my mother and I was brought into the U.K. illegally, under the name of another child called Mohamed Farah."
Mo has revealed he was trafficked to the UK as a child
Mo - real name Hussein Abdi Kahin - said he and his twin, Hassan, were sent by their mother to live with an uncle in neighbouring Djibouti for their own safety. He recalled a woman visiting the house several times to observe him before he was told that she would be taking him to Europe to live with relatives.
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He was also informed that he would be renamed Mohamed. "As a kid, you never think beyond what you've been told," he says.
The Olympic star has been married to wife Tanis since 2010
However, once Mo arrived in the UK he faced a very different reality. "I had all the contact details for my relative and once we got to her house, the lady took it off me and right in front of me ripped them up and put it in the bin, and at that moment I knew I was in trouble," he said, adding that he was told he had to look after her family in exchange for food.
Deeply unhappy, he finally plucked up the courage to tell his schoolteachers, and social services intervened. He was eventually looked after by a Somalian woman, Kinsi, for seven years.
The couple with their four children
In the programme, she recalls how she felt compelled to save him by posing as his aunt. She said: "You were not happy. You’re crying. Then I tried to find out what is going on with you.
"The lady, she always make you do the housework, to have the kids, to give them their milk, to change their nappy and all these things." She added: "She didn't bring you as a human being."
Later in the documentary, Mo does admit to being worried about his immigration status. However, the Home Office confirmed on Monday night that he would not face any repercussions. "No action whatsoever will be taken against Sir Mo and to suggest otherwise is wrong," a spokesperson said.
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